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Transport For London Advised To Make Emissions Targets Stricter

By raccars Published

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London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has already made himself unpopular in certain quarters by appearing to wage war on diesel car drivers with a series of expensive conditions put upon them entering the capital. However, he now has an unexpected ally in the form of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which has published an open letter, encouraging Mr Johnson to implement even stricter targets for the London low emissions zone.

The SMMT has urged Transport for London to revise its 2020 Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) proposals, to stipulate that both diesel and petrol cars should reach Euro 6 standards. Currently, the plan mandates that diesel cars should satisfy Euro 6 standards but that petrol vehicles need only comply with Euro 4 standards, set in 2006. Petrol powered cars will be able to enter London free of charge in 2020, even with emissions standards that are 14 years old - this means average CO2 emissions 72% higher than the target of 95g/km are set for that date.

The SMMT believes that this policy would relieve the bias against diesel cars a little and would see improved air quality and reduced carbon in London sooner than the current proposals would allow. The ULEZ proposal would also encourage motorists to invest in low emission vehicles.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, was keen to dispel the notion that modern diesel cars are the devil at the heart of the UK's pollution problems, commenting that diesel engine technology has advanced massively in the last ten years. This means that more than 99% of damaging particulates and about two thirds of nitrogen oxide emissions are now captured before being released into the atmosphere.

Euro 6 emissions technology is dramatically different from previous standards as it includes the constant monitoring and management of exhaust emissions. This was absent in older standards so that cars could be emitting far higher emissions than expected due to being out of tune. Currently, Euro 6 standards must be met by all new cars to be released to market, and every car on sale must comply by the end of next year.

The SMMT believes concerns that motorists will be penalised by the proposed tougher restrictions are misplaced, as by 2020, vehicles that meet the qualifying standard could be up to six years old and potentially third hand, meaning that there should be plenty of affordable options on the market.

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